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A train from Germany has collided with a regional train in the Czech Republic, with several people dying in the crash. Czech authorities suspect the incident was caused by human error.
The Czech Transport Minister said the German EX 351 high-speed train failed to observe a stop signal
Two trains collided near the Czech town of Pilsen on Wednesday after 6 am UTC, leaving three people dead and 31 injured. A further six people were critically injured.
Authorities said victims include the drivers of both engines and a female passenger.
Local emergency services said four helicopters helped transport victims to hospital.
Pictures from the scene show a badly damaged high-speed driver's cab near the track with emergency workers attending to the incident.
Local media say the two trains were an EX 351 high-speed locomotive from Germany, and the Czech OS 7406 train between the Domazlice and Blizejov stations. According to the Czech Railways website, the EX 351 is an express service from Munich to Prague, while the OS 7406 is a regional service.
Czech police said the German Rescue Cross, an ambulance service from Bavaria, and doctors from Cham in southeastern Germany were also at the scene. German police offered to assist due to the amount of German nationals injured.
While police have launched a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash, initial findings indicate the high-speed train failed to observe a stop signal. The Czech Transport Minister Karel Havlicek blamed human error for the incident. Havlicek took to Twitter, writing: "The EX 351 went through a signal indicating stop [...] and collided with a passenger train."
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis expressed his sympathies to those affected, tweeting "Sincere condolences to the families of the dead. It is important to save other lives. Then everything must be investigated."
kb/aw (AFP, Reuters)